Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 10/12

Oct 12, 2012 Issues: Economy and Jobs

Sunrise in Marshall

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow we will kick off the opener for pheasant hunting in Marshall.  Throughout the past week I met with a lot of small business owners and service providers in the 7th District.  In this economy I believe it is especially important that we stand up for small businesses and their employees.  In Alexandria, I met with executives and representatives from Life Link III, Douglas County Hospital, and Pro-Tainer.  In Bemidji, I toured the facilities of LaValley Industries with the company owners and also toured AirCorps Aviation.  Today I attended the ground breaking for a new hospital in Elbow Lake and stopped by for a visit to Riverview Farms in Morris on my way to Marshall.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District


Pheasant Opener (MARSHALL)

An award displayed in my office that I received from Pheasants Forever in recognition of my Conservation Service

This weekend Marshall hosts us all at the Pheasant Opener.  The weekend kicks off with Shooters Sporting Clays on Friday at 2 p.m. with a banquet later in the evening, but the big hunt begins with an early breakfast on Saturday followed by departure at 8 a.m.  An estimated 300 people are expected for Friday night's banquet as Marshall welcomes the Governor and fellow Minnesotans to their town.


I met in Alexandria with Life Link III, a non-profit consortium consisting of nine healthcare organizations which provides air transportation service for patients in Minnesota via helicopter and airplane ambulance.  The company provides on-scene emergency response and inter-facility transport services, and they are equipped to handle any type of critically ill or injured patient.  Service is available day or night, 365 days a year.  The company has helicopter bases in Alexandria, Blaine, Hibbing and Hutchinson. (10/10) 

LaValley Industries (BEMIDJI)

I had the opportunity to meet with LaValley Industries owners Jason LaValley, CEO and Jorge Prince, CFO in Bemidji this week.  They are the inventors and owners of the Deckhand, a pipe handling equipment system for the pipeline industry.  The company was founded in 2006 and the product line has grown to include three different head attachments, and numerous arm combinations.  The pipe handling system is distributed exclusively to the pipeline industry.  LaValley Industries was named a winner of the Northwest Minnesota 2011 IDEA Competition with their entry of a Deckhand product, making LaValley Industries the only two-time winner of this competition.  IDEA was created to assist the most promising local entrepreneurs in the commercialization of innovative products, processes and deliveries by connecting them to capital and other resources. (10/9)

Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services Ground Breaking (ELBOW LAKE)

Today I attended the groundbreaking for Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services, a new facility to be built on the east side of Elbow Lake.  The community here has worked tirelessly to ensure access to critical health care infrastructure, and I was glad to attend the event today as we take this project to the next step.  Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services is a shining example of what a Critical Access Hospital can do for a community and what an integrated health care system can do for a patient. (10/12)

Douglas County Hospital (ALEXANDRIA)

Meeting with Carl Vaagnes (CEO, Douglas County Hospital) and Eddie Reif (Director of Community Relations and Development Officer for Douglas County Hospital)

While in Alexandria this week I had the chance to meet with the Administration of the Douglas County Hospital to discuss healthcare issues.  The hospital had recently undergone renovations, such as a new surgery center, a medical oncology unit and a new 110,000 square foot addition that is partially leased to Heartland Orthopedic Specialists and a new obstetric/nursery unit that I toured. (10/10)

AirCorps Aviation (BEMIDJI)

Photo courtesy AirCorps Aviation

While in Bemidji on Tuesday, I also met with Erik Hokuf (Manager) and Eric Trueblood of AirCorps Aviation, LLC., which specializes in the detailed restoration, maintenance and rebuilding of vintage of WWII aircraft.  Located in the Bemidji Industrial Park, it is truly amazing the detail work that is done while restoring these beautiful historic planes. (10/9)  


On Wednesday I met with Shane, Shaynen and Stewart Schmidt who are the owners of Pro-Tainer, Alex Rubbish and Annova Trailer systems.  Located in the Alexandria Industrial Park, Pro-Tainer is a direct manufacturer of bear proof recycling trailers, stationary refuse equipment, front load containers and rear load containers, recycle drop boxes and open top roll offs.  Alex Rubbish and Recycling offers residential and commercial garbage service throughout Douglas County. (10/10)

Bemidji Community Arts Council, Inc (BEMIDJI)

Pictured above with Representative John Persell, City Councilor Rita Albrecht, and Region 2 Arts Council Executive Director Terri Widman

I visited the location for the new building that will house the Bemidji Community Arts Council (BCAC).  This non-profit arts organization serves the community and surrounding region by hosting exhibits and arts education year-round.  With an emphasis in visual arts, they also explore a variety of projects that include collaboration with music and spoken word.  Recently BCAC received a Rural Development loan through the USDA that will enable them to acquire this new, larger building so they can continue to expand and grow.  I congratulate the Bemidji Community Arts Council, Inc. on this recent announcement and am excited to see what lies ahead for this organization. (10/9)

MN Prairie Line Inc. 10th Anniversary (FAIRFAX)

Pictured above with Maria Shoemaker-Grifoni, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Martha Head, Mark Wegner

Minnesota Prairie Line Inc. celebrated its 10th Anniversary this week at Squirrels Restaurant in Fairfax. This short-line railroad started operations in October 2002 as a subsidiary of the Twin Cities and Western Railroad, and it runs on 94 miles of track owned by the Minnesota Valley Regional Railroad Authority. These tracks were originally built by the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway around 1880, and the communities of Fairfax and Belview still have old Minneapolis and St. Louis train stations preserved in their towns as museums. (10/11)

Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope

This past weekend, the national charity Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative held a quilt exhibit titled "Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope" at Ecumen Detroit Lakes, Emmanuel Nursing Home.  This traveling quilt exhibit features 236 quilts, including Name Quilts that list more than 10,000 names representing and honoring the 5.4 million people in the United States who have this disease.

National 4-H Week

October 7-13

As we celebrate 4-H and its impact on our youth throughout Minnesota, we recognize how 4-H helps them make a difference in their own lives as well as their communities.  The 4-H mission is to engage Minnesota youth in quality learning opportunities that enable them to shape and reach their full potential as active citizens in a global community. Last year, more than 71,000 kids across the state participated in this crucial program that provides learning opportunities outside the classroom and enables kids to contribute to something bigger through hands on projects.  In addition to the traditional agricultural projects, today's 4-H youth also work on technological projects like robotics, GPS, and environmental analysis.  To learn more about 4-H Week and National 4-H Youth Science Day activities and events in your area, contact your local 4-H Extension educator or 4-H program coordinator at